Sunday, March 28, 2010

Balancing Act

When I was a kid, my brother and I would sometimes make ourselves what we called, "The Breakfast Special" on a snow day or during spring break, etc. It consisted of a bowl of cereal of our choice, with a slice of "gourmet" cinnamon toast (the key is to put on the butter and cinnamon sugar and then broil it in the toaster oven), along with both hot chocolate and juice. It was our rendition of the cereal commercials we saw on TV. ("all part of a balanced breakfast!")

I am all about balanced eating. To me, this means not beating myself up over a not so healthy lunch or snack. I like to be able to go over what I've eaten during the day and see that my good and bad choices balance each other out. Today is such a striking example of that:

Lunch: salad with organic spinach and greens, feta cheese, lots of veggies, balsamic vinaigrette, and an almost unsweetened green iced tea.

Then it was off to do laundry and study, while one of our former housemates made Bisquick pancakes and a decadent chocolate cake. I licked a beater (yum!) and ate three fluffy pancakes with Earth Balance and fake syrup (first ingredient: corn syrup. Hey, at least it's not HFCS?). While doing laundry, we got a call from some friends who bought a coconut macaroon pie at a church pie auction. Did we want to help them eat it? Of course! We sat at our house and ate large slices of pie with decaf coffee and good conversation.

I like to think that my full-o-nutrients salad lunch balances out the fluffy, virtually nutrient-less pancakes and dense, sugary pie. I also like that I don't beat myself up over this. I am a generally healthy eater, but I still want room for pie and Bisquick in my life. And I just might have to recreate "The Breakfast Special" some day soon.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring has Sprung?

Our house: Saturday morning

Our back porch railing: Friday night

It was sunny & 65 degrees on Thursday. I just thought you should know.

The good news is: we needed the moisture, it's March in Colorado so this is just life, and today it is gloriously sunny, the snow is melting, and tomorrow it should be in the 50s.

Friday, March 12, 2010

How I Am Trying to Cope

Let's just say that best descriptor of my life right now is overwhelmed.

Work is tough right now. Spring is always a stressful time in my job, but this year, the things on my plate feel like they are really adding up. Let's just say I'm not at all doing a good job of managing my stress. On top of that, I'm studying for a big bad teacher licensure test: General Science. I have been spending the last two months on a steady diet of Physics & Earth Science, subjects I never took a high school or college level class in. Needless to say, I am still studying, and haven't even touched the Biology & Chemistry this test also covers.

One thing I appreciate about the blog world is that there is some level of accountability in putting a plan for your life on the internet. I might not have very many readers, but even just typing this out makes it feel more like an official plan.

Coping strategies:

1. Exercise. I just don't exercise. I'm not proud of this. I'm at the point that I feel so out of shape I don't know where to begin. But I want to make a commitment to yoga at least once a week & walking at least twice a week.

2. Write. I used to keep a paper journal and write often. I processed a lot of stuff in that journal, and I have really fallen out of the habit.

3. Talk. In college I had a spiritual adviser. We met once a week and talked about my life, and not just my thoughts about God and my beliefs. We talked about the stress of student teaching, my new relationship with my now-husband, my thoughts about future careers and vocations. I was a much healthier person because of this. Here in Colorado, I haven't found a new mentor or adviser and am really hurting for older adult wisdom. I plan to ask my church for some pastoral care in this area. I also have an incredibly wonderful, supportive group of girlfriends. Some live here in Colorado, and the others I communicate with mostly through a huge email chain. I haven't written in forever. My silence is partly b/c I feel so overwhelmed by my emotions. But I am going to try harder!

4. Have fun. I want to intentionally plan fun things into my week and weekends. New recipes, new explorations with James, and more. I want to plant some herbs & play in the park. If I plan these things ahead of time, I have something to look forward to in those stressful moments.

So, readers, there you have it. I hope these strategies bring more mental stability to my life in the coming weeks.

How to do cope with stress (especially work-related stress)? What techniques work best for you?